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Nigeria Eyes $4bn Tech Transfer, FG Allays Fear of Indians Hijacking Industry

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Nigeria is to experience huge technology transfer of over $4 billion from India as the governments of both countries rekindle long standing relationships at the third Indo-Africa ICT Expo which opened September 6th in Lagos with over 3,000 delegates from across Africa and India witnessing the inauguration of the technology event.

Already having strong presence in Africa, India, through the Conference is seeking stronger ties with Nigeria in particular, and has therefore offered its assistance in all areas of technology.

Along those lines, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, the Nigerian minister of Communications, who led the ministers from India, Ghana and top officials from Ethiopia, Rwanda and other African countries to inaugurate the conference, in his keynote address at the event expressed the country’s readiness to partner with India in all possible areas to achieve a digital economy Nigeria.

Shittu, who allayed fears of stakeholders in the ICT industry about the Indians coming to hijack the industry, said the coming of the Indians was sequel to discussions he had with the Indian business community in Geneva early this year, where they promised to come and invest $4 billion in the Nigerian IT industry.

As part of India’s commitment to Nigeria, Shittu said India is also financing a solar-based rural electrification project that would cover 1000 rural areas in Nigeria. The Minister however, used the opportunity to invite Indians to invest in the key Nigerian ICT projects, which include the establishment of ICT University and ICT development bank to cater to the specific financing needs of the ICT industry in Africa’s biggest market.

In his address at the conference, Sanjay Nayak, co-chairman of India’s Telecom Equipment & Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC), said India remains the ideal partner for Africa as it shares the same vision and mission for technology growth.

According to him, India has developed quality technologies well-crafted to meet the needs of countries in the African continent, and which they can leverage on at competitive price.

India, Nayak said, has the lowest telecom tariff rates in the world as a result of its cutting edge technologies. “We have end-to-end solutions, which are well suited for African needs” he said.

India’s Honourable Minister of Communications, Manoj Sinha, said the third edition of the Indo-Africa ICT Expo in Lagos has special significance, not only for India and Nigeria, but also for the entire Africa, adding that the success of the first two editions held in Kenya gave the organisers the confidence to shift the focus to West Africa.

“I strongly believe that the vast experience gained by India in setting up of ICT infrastructure can be leveraged by the governments as well as the private business enterprises in Africa. To explore synergies on the ground in ICTs, more than 50 ICT companies from India are participating in this ICT Expo” he said.

Citing the key capabilities of Indian companies and what they can offer Nigeria, the Minister said that India companies have developed the engineering capabilities and experience with smart innovations. “They have the ability to train employees at scale; innovative business models at low cost. This makes them well-positioned to support the booming African ICT sector” he said.

According to the Indian Minister, India and Africa are having similar demographic and ICT usage profile and should therefore work together to achieve common goal of establishing digital economy in respective countries.

“We are fully committed to share our ICT experiences, expertise and software skills with other countries in the developing world. India is also willing to explore opportunities of financing the emerging opportunities”.

The organisers, TEPC, is working in conjunction with the National Association of Software and Service Companies, (NASSCOM), which is the premier trade body and the chamber of commerce of the IT-BPM industries in India.

The TEPC stated that the  vision of a knowledge based society “is built on an edifice where IT and Telecommunications merge,” adding that “rapid technological convergence has already established a symbiotic relationship between the development strategies of IT and telecommunications. IT flourishes on the telecom-network and in turn permits modern day telecommunications to use sophisticated IT-software.”

The Council says as Africa is among the fastest growing markets worldwide, improving macroeconomic indicators, conducive business environment, larger, younger and more affluent population, rising middle class – all are strong indicators of not only a source of capital but also of job creation, skills development, technology transfer, infrastructure development, responsible governance and most of all –sustained growth that eventually will lead to transformation of African economies!”

Other ministers at the conference include Mr. Vincent Sowah Odotel, Deputy Minister of Communications, Ghana and Mr. Getachew Negash Tekla, State Minister of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.

Dignitaries at the inauguration of the conference include Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, former executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission who is chairman of Openmedia Group, Mr. Olusola Teniola, President of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of Association of Licensed Telephone Operators (ALTON) and Mr. Tayo Adeniyi, President of the Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), as well as Chief Charles Okeke, chairman of the IT/Telecom Trading Group of the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, (NACCIMA) and Mr. Ahmed Ojikutu, President of the Computers and Allied Products Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN).

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world.

So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Apple Begin Sale of MekaMons Built by Adekunle, Nigerian Engineer

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Silas Adekunle with his 4-legged MekaMon robot

Apple stores in the US and UK have begun the sale of MekaMons, a gaming robot built by Silas Adekunle, a Nigerian-Briton.

 

Adekunle, an engineer, graduated with first class honours from the University of the West of England in Bristol, with a bachelor of science in robotics technology.

 

He was born in Nigeria but moved to the UK when he was 11 years old.

 

His company, Reach Robotics, an augmented reality gaming company which creates robots for both fun and STEM education, struck the deal with Apple recently.

 

MekaMons has been on sale since November 16 for $299.95.

 

The four-legged robots can be controlled via an iPhone and other smartphone using a companion app for augmented reality gameplay.

 

“We’ve created an entirely new video gaming platform,” Adekunle said in a statement by Black Enterprise.

 

The 4-legged MekaMon robot

 

“MekaMon straddles both the real and virtual worlds while taking the gaming experience beyond a player’s screen and turning their sitting room into a limitless robotic battle zone.

 

“MekaMon represents a quantum leap forward in the leveraging of augmented reality. Players can whip out their iPhone to battle their multi-functional, connected battlebots in the physical and virtual worlds at the same time.

 

“When I was a student at UWE Bristol I spent some time going into schools to help inspire young people and it struck me that there was a huge untapped market for a consumer robot with a difference.

 

“We used to go in and explain simple robotics to try to inspire the young roboticists and engineers of the future and this experience set me off thinking about designing gaming robots.

 

“This is an exciting time for our company as now after years of development work we are finally able to bring Mekamon to customers across the UK and US and with plans to go global.

 

“UWE Bristol has given us an amazing start and we are so grateful for their support.”

 

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iSON Group Sparkles at 2017 SERAS Awards

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L-r) iSON BPO Team - Adebayo Bakare DGM – HR , Sujeet Matwankar – Head- Human Resource

iSON Group has bagged two awards at the 2017 Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility Awards (SERAs) for Best Company in Poverty Eradication and Best New Entrant in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The award ceremony was held at the Shell Hall, Onikan, Lagos.

These awards were presented to iSON Group in recognition of its robust CSR philosophy, and its progress in eradicating poverty in Africa as it drives sustainable development across the communities beyond the bands of its operation.

The SERAS–CSR Awards is an annual event to celebrate organisations investing resources in the improvement of lives of stakeholders and through their social performance and investment programmes contributing to the development of Africa. This is the first edition to recognise individuals and organisations outside Nigeria.

Accepting the awards on behalf of Mr. Ramesh Awtaney, the Founder and Chairman, iSON Group, were Sujeet Matwankar Head of Human Resources, iSON BPO and Bakare Adebayo, Deputy General Manager – HR, iSON BPO and Ms. Olapeju Allison, Manager –HR, iSON Technologies and Mr. Henry Erigha Deputy Sales Director, iSON Technologies.  They expressed satisfaction for being part of a system that addresses the very essence of human existence. Sujeet Matwankar said, ‘’These recognitions on Responsibility awarded to iSON Group demonstrates the progress made by the organization in leading Africa’s IT and ITeS industry towards sustainable investments in human capital development whilst driving communities to achieve the global sustainable development goals’’.

As part of its CSR initiatives iSON is on a mission to build capacities focused on specialized training in IT-enabled services for the youth. Its “Welfare through Empowerment” program, in partnership with the local business communities, enables growth in IT and ITeS for the African youth. Its corporate social responsibility initiatives are directed at empowering the underprivileged and the youth.

According to media officer of The SERAS, Mr. Michael Ogunbanwo, “We are indeed delighted at the quality of participation thus far. Noteworthy for us is the fact that we have so many first time entrants for The SERAS this year. For us, this clearly is an indicator of the wide acceptability of the worksTruContact CSR Nigeria- initiators of the awards, in promoting and standardizing corporate social responsibility and sustainability in Nigeria and Africa’’.

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FG Inaugurates ICT Centres in Katsina State

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Federal Ministry of Communication established three Information and Communication Technology Centres (ICTC) in Daura, Katsina State, to promote the quest for improved information and technological education, Mr Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communication, said.

The minister made this known yesterday during a visit to the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Farouk.

Shittu said the three centres were located at the state’s College of Legal Studies, Government Junior Secondary School Daura and Federal Government College Daura.

He added that the centres were to assist in promoting ICT education among students in the area, as well as ensure wider coverage for the nation.

The minister called on the people to make optimal good use of the centres.

He said he was in Katsina for a stakeholders meeting on how to enhance information and communication technology for national development.

He noted that “the centres are equipped with ICT gadgets like computers, internet services and other accessories.

“The world has witnessed a paradigm shift from analogue status to digital one, hence the need for us to embrace the trend.’’

The minister reiterated Federal Government’s determination to change the nation from analogue to digital ways of doing things.

Shittu commended the emir “for the sustained contributions on nation building, especially on peace and regular prayers for the wellbeing of the nation.’’

Responding, the emir commended the minister for establishing the centres in his domain.

He called on the ministry to consider the possibility of expanding the scope of the centres by establishing same in other areas like Zango, Maiadua, Baure and Sandamu.

He assured the minister of the emirate’s support to mobilise students to begin to use the centres for ICT programmes.

The minister was in company of the 36 commissioners for information and other heads of federal parastatals, agencies and commissions.

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